The Triple-A Buffalo rotation features two of the system's top arms in righthanders Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia, while also featuring depth to patch the inevitable cracks in the big league front five (Jeremy Hefner, Garrett Olson, Chris Schwinden). Expect center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis and middle infielder Jordanny Valdespin to get looks in Queens this season, and both could be valuable contributor types down the road. Righty Jenrry Mejia begins on the Bisons disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery; look for him in the second half.
Leap Of Faith
A second-round pick last year out of North Carolina State, righthander Cory Mazzoni finished his debut season in the high Class A Florida State League. He picks up where he left off with St. Lucie, though this year his role has changed from reliever to starter. The Mets know his power slider will play in either role, so the emphasis falls on locating his 90-94 mph fastball and getting the most out of his splitter.
Where Is That Guy?
The two most prominent position players from last year's draft—first-round outfielder Brandon Nimmo and 15th-round second baseman Phillip Evans—will begin the season in extended spring training. However, righthander Michael Fulmer, the 44th overall pick, made the low Class A Savannah rotation.
Time Is Running Out
Second baseman Reese Havens has put up an .884 OPS at the Double-A level over the course of the past two seasons. Unfortunately, he's appeared in little more than a quarter of Binghamton's games as he's dealt with myriad injuries. Havens begins the 2012 season on the shelf with a lower-back ailment. Elsewhere in the system, Long Island native Steve Matz, the Mets' top pick in 2009, will begin in extended spring. The lefty had Tommy John soon after signing and has not yet appeared in a game.
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